May 8, 2014

Black Samauri Stout Tasting Notes

It's been a while since I broke into some homebrew but I snuck in this beer before heading out to a party where my options are boxed wine and gin. (No, I don't know why I'm going either.) This low ABV stout (recipe here) came in a little low on gravity, resulting in a small 3.1% beer. I gave it a dose of some oak aged with Canadian whiskey and it's been in the bottle for a couple months. I tasted a very raw bottle a couple weeks after I bottled it but decided it needed a little extra time for the carbonation to settle in and some of the oak character to integrate. So this is a review based on the most recent taste.

Appearance: Predictably dark but a little more brown than black. The head is tan but enormous. It has a fluffy lasting head that takes a while for the 12oz. bottle to settle into an imperial pint glass. Produces excellent lacing, so there's that. Head lasts in a thinner form until the bottom of the glass.

Aroma: A predictable mix of roasted coffee, some chocolate but a surprisingly strong but not entirely welcoming grainy-whiskey aroma.

Flavor: The flavor is strongly roast and bitterness. I obviously went overboard on IBUs in this beer because it's too bitter. It's almost oppressive in such a small beer. Some chocolate comes across among the oak and whiskey character. The aftertaste is much better because the bitterness fades and some of the sweetness comes through. The bitterness is accentuating the roast in an unpleasant way. Chocolate comes out more as the beer warms.

Mouthfeel: It's certainly on the thinner side of stouts but it should be at 3.1%. The aftertaste has an interesting heavy feeling on the tongue. It's strange but not offensive.

Overall: I think the beer would have turned out a lot better if I hadn't overshot the volume and ended up with too much beer. It probably needs more flaked barley to make up for the typical thinness of a smaller beer. I could go either way about the oak and whiskey. A little more would have made the flavors more obvious but at the risk of thinning the beer back out. I dunno, it has potential. I probably should have made the first run at the beer without the interference of the oak and whiskey.

Update 6/22/14: Opened a couple more bottles and the beer has actually evolved into a nicer beer. The bitterness and roast has mellowed so the flavor is a little more in line with a dry stout although the biscuit malt is really notable now, which I don't entirely love. Gives it a little of a biscotti kind of flavor. It's not bad just too prominent in the flavor profile. The whiskey has integrated a little better and adds a nice caramel note. The biscuit malt should go and maybe a better whiskey like a blended scotch would be a better fit.


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